Headquartered in China, the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is an international organization jointly initiated by 29 member states. BFA holds its annual conference in Boao, Hainan on a regular basis. The founding purpose of BFA was to promote economic integration in Asia. Its mission now is to pool positive energy for the development of Asia and the world.
With the progress of economic globalization and regional integration, Asian countries have been faced with great opportunities as well as severe challenges. This requires them to strengthen cooperation with other parts of the world and enhance mutual exchanges and cooperation. In fact, it is now a common task for them to find a way to cope with the challenges brought about by globalization, to maintain the healthy economic growth of Asia, and to strengthen their coordination and cooperation.
As a whole, Asian countries need a forum that is created truly from the perspective and for the benefit of Asia, and that can be dedicated to the discussion of Asian issues and aimed at enhancing cooperation and exchanges among Asian countries, and between Asian countries and other parts of the world. Against this backdrop, former Filipino President Fidel V. Ramos, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, and former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa proposed in 1998 the establishment of an “Asian Forum”, one similar to the World Economic Forum which bases its annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
The idea of “Asian Forum”, once being put forward, was unanimously accepted by the related Asian countries. On Oct. 8, 1999, Hu Jintao, the then Vice President of China, met in Beijing with Fidel V. Ramos and Bob Hawke, who came to China specially for the proposed Asian Forum. Hu said that China stood ready to provide support and cooperation for the establishment of this forum. In 2000, governments of 26 initial countries agreed on the establishment of the Asian Forum, and the Chinese government approved it to be set up in Hainan, followed by a preparatory meeting attended by representatives of various parties. BFA was officially born and settled in China’s southernmost province.
The first conference of BFA was held on Feb. 26-27, 2001 in Boao, Hainan Province, China. Former leaders of 26 countries, including Fidel V. Ramos, former President of the Philippines, Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister of Australia, Yasuhiro Nakasone, former Prime Minister of Japan, Sergey Terechshenko, former Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, and Punsalmaa Ochirbat, former President of Mongolia, attended the ceremony. Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir bin Mohammad, the late King of Nepal H.M. Birendra BirBikram Shah Dev, and Vietnamese Vice Prime Minister Nguyen Manh Cam, also graced the occasion as the guests of honor by addressing the ceremony. The Declaration of BFA and Guidelines of BFA Charter were adopted during the ceremony. The number of initial countries was later increased to 29.
The accomplishments of BFA have been impossible without the strong support and active participation of the governments of member states, various member partners, and visionaries from various communities. It now has become a high-level dialogue platform for the political, business and academic leaders from Asia and other continents to discuss key Asian and global issues. In the new era, the BFA, based in Asia and with a global outlook, adheres to one running theme of economic development, while expanding into five focal areas including technology innovation, health, education, culture and media in response to the new economy. BFA is committed to contributing to the peace, prosperity and sustainable development of Asia and the world.fulltext